Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Old Postcard Wednesday--Vintage Kittens & Moon...in remembrance of Cirrus

This week marks 21 years since my first favorite cat died. She was Cirrus--a mystical, pure white, best friend. I adopted her at the Reno Animal Shelter when she was a wee kitten, leaving behind her twin because my ex-husband and I lived in an apartment with little room. When I saw this postcard for sale recently I thought about Cirrus and her litter mate, together again for decades now. It interests me to consider that  because in many ways I feel she has never totally left me, so deep was our love and connection.

About five years after Cirrus died of kidney failure and I had fallen in love with my second favorite cat, Bleecker, now-husband Michael and I adopted a pure white bundle of fur to be Bleecker's buddy. She was Feather, whose loss I mourned in June of this year. But when she was tiny and my mother first saw her, she said to me, "Well, you have your Cirrus back." I quickly corrected her erroneous assumption. In no way was Feather a replacement for Cirrus. Cirrus was one-of-a kind (as Feather also grew to be) and I miss both of them and Bleecker, each individually, nearly every day.

When Cirrus was 13, two years before her death, she and I had a formal sitting with our local photographer. It was Christmas time and when we entered the studio I noticed that he had a lovely Christmas tree in the lobby. When he asked what I would suggest to calm Cirrus so that we might have the best results I asked if he would mind if I just let her down so that she could examine the tree. Adore the tree would be more like it, because how she loved Christmas trees! She wandered all around the tree, sniffing, admiring the lights--her own eyes shining more brilliantly than any light on the tree, and was totally ready for our photo session after about ten minutes.

These are a couple of the images from that special day in 1988, followed by the poem I wrote for Cirrus a few weeks after her death.

Memories of Cirrus

In the dazzling cloud that took your shape
    and hazy moonlight on pure lacy snow;
In the silent exciting splendor of a playful
I recognize your grace, your tender soul

which long ago you shared through huge eyes
    of limpid, marbled gold
        rivaling the sun—

        nurturing, dark, drowsy at night
            two deep soothing caves

where I escaped into your promise
of fidelity and peace –

And nestled against your white silken fur,
    your gentle paw touching my face,
I heard the room fill
with the opus you purred,

found serenity dreamy and whole.

                                    MLydiaM ~ 1990



ds said...

We never posed for a formal portrait, but I adored our tabby, who lived to be 23. I love the current kitties to death, but she was special in the way that Cirrus was special to you: the one-of-a-kind, the standard. Oh, and she loved Christmas trees, too!
Lovely poem.

Lydia said...

ds~ Oh, how lucky you were to have your tabby for 23 years. That would have been like a dream-come-true for Cirrus and me to be together that long. So your kitty had Twenty-Three Christmas Trees to love! I will tell three-year-old Willow about that when we decorate the tree this year, fingers crossed.....

Fireblossom said...

What a beautiful kitty! Her eyes are especially amazing. And you look wonderful too, so happy with your friend.

Certain of our animal companions make themselves especially dear and unforgettable. I have a formal portrait of me and my first dog, Sundance a (Belgian Turveren) which was done in 1978 and still hangs on my wall to the left of my computer chair. We were both so young!

Cat Chat With Caren And Cody said...

this was exquisite. I remember when Feather passed and how moved I was, and now you have done it to me again with Cirrus (what lovely names you name your babies!) Thank you for sharing your memories and your heart with us. It has been 21 years and you still remember Cirrus so fondly, this has stirred my soul. Thank you!

Sheila Moore said...

Heard the room fill with opus as you purred- that is so sweet and very poetic. She was a beautiful cat.

Kat Mortensen said...

Cats truly are ONE of a KIND. I love that name, Cirrus and your photo is a lovely remembrance. It is the poem, however that captures your real feeling for this beautiful creature. We never forget, we cat people.

Anonymous said...

my first kitty-love was with me from when I was almost four to seventeen. I don't think I could have made it through high school without him! I wrote a eulogy for him for a class this semester... Perhaps I will post it :)

Thank you for being so willing to share your love and grief for your companions! It is so beautiful to read.

Muhammad Israr said...

well... since it was your first cat surely nothing can replace her... a special place in your heart and every cat after her you naturally start to compare with the cirrus so ... and if these pictures are of 23 years ago then i wonder what is the secret of you being evergreen since then?

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

i've said it before and I'll say it again - but boy do you photograph well

Cats are such special characters - i'm so glad that we;ve been lucky enough to have three now with their own quirks

The postcard reminded me of those early films from 1910 etc where the man in the moon swallows a train etc

Cirrus was a beautiful cat sure 'nuff

Lydia said...

Fireblossom~ Belgian Terveran? I have never heard of that breed before and will def look up info. Love the name Sundance; wish I could see that portrait! ^.^ <: (that is a cat and dog in caSe you were wondering)

Caren and Cody~ Hello, you two. Thank you for reading about Cirrus and for appreciating that the love goes on and on.... ^.^

Sheila Moore~ She really did make opus-quality purrs at night. Thanks for commenting about Cirrus. ^.^

Kat~ No, we cat people never do forget. I used to tell Cirrus that the top of her head smelled "just like a sugar cookie" and it really did, and I am anxious for the holidays to recall the smell! ^.^

Amber Lee~ I love the story about your first kitty love and all those years he helped you through. I really hope you post the eulogy (I think it is so great that you wrote it for a class!) and please let me know if you do so I will not miss it. ^.^

Muhammad Israr~ Actually, I had other cats before her, but never a favorite until Cirrus. When she came along I knew I was living with a special being. Also, she happened to be with me during a very tumultuous time in my life, and (like Amber mentioned in her comments about her cat) I don't know what I would have done without her. Sometimes I called her "Nursie" because she seemed to take care of me.
No, it would not be fair to any other cat after Cirrus to make comparisons.
You are so very kind in your comment about the photos and subsequent years. Alas, I see changed every time I look in the mirror--but I am grateful for my healthy body and inquisitive mind. And you have planted a new concept into my mind: to remain evergreen. That is just very inspiring! ^.^

Pixies~ Re: the photos, see comment to Muhammad above! My yoga teacher some years ago said, "Aging is humbling." Well....she was right!
Your cats are beautiful and I love all of your posts about them.
Now, about your concept of the postcard (I love this postcard)...I can sort of envision the kind of scene you describe, but now I wonder if there are any clips out there on youtube. ^.^

Catfish Tales said...

Like your Cirrus, my Persian Nikki is a special friend to me. Few others may scoff at what they even might comment under their breath as misplaced affection. Obviously, they have never experienced for themselves such a lovely connection. N.B. Nikki and her zaniness are even featured in my fictitious tale, a murder mystery series in 3-parts set in Ireland. Cheers to you and your fond memories of a lovely 'fur kid' set in a very pretty poem.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

lydia - i looked it up for you - the movie is circa 1900-1920 and is called "Le Voyage dans la lune"

if you do a google image search you will find lots of pictures from the film and there is a wikipedia page about it

Lydia said...

Catfish Tales~ Oh, how fantastic that your precious Nikki has found her way into your books, where she will live forever. I suppose there are people who consider such love as we feel for them to be misplaced affection. I pity them! I enjoyed your comment so much; thanks. ^.^

Pixies~ You are just extremely fun and special! Thank you for looking it up and leaving the info. I am tardy in replying because I caught my husband's miserable bug and spent all Friday in bed. Hope to feel better tomorrow and spend some time catching up online - than will look at your researched items. Thank you so much. ^.^

twinkly sparkles said...


Thanks for your post and all the links along the way to photos of kitties. Your Cirrus was incredibly beautiful and while each cat is his or her own cat, she seems exceptionally so. Wow.

I am not sure if you have read my blog of late, but we just lost our beloved Willow to a car, the night before Thanksgiving. Until Willow, I am not sure I had met a cat with such a present soul. She was one-of-a-kind, the kindest and sweetest cat I've ever had. She smelled sweet, too. It was so strange. I miss her.

The movie that "Don't Feed the Pixies" is talking about was one by a very early French filmmaker, Georges Melies. Interestingly, I had seen a couple of old films of his because our friend used to run a film archive in Columbus Ohio and had 2 or 3 titles by Melies.

Also, interestingly, the new Scorcese film, "Hugo," is largely about Melies' legacy....

Thanks, Lydia. I love the postcard image, too.

Lydia said...

twinkly sparkles~ Oh, I am so sorry about your little Willow. It was the saddest news to read today and I apologize for not being by your blog to learn of your loss sooner. My heart is breaking for you, dear twinkly. I know how much you loved Willow, and know that the loss of a loved one around the holidays has a poignancy that it does not at other times of the year. I will be thinking of you and wishing you peace. xo ^.^

Lydia said...

twinkly sparkles~ I was wrapped up in sorrow about your loss and failed to let you know how amazing the additional information is that you gave about George Melies. I was fascinated by your personal background and more than thrilled to know that "Hugo" relates to him, as I have seen the previews for "Hugo" and have thought it looks marvelous.

deus ex machina said...

You're beautiful here and so is Cirrus! It is great to know about Cirrus.

Lydia said...

deus ex machina~ Thank you, Dex. I'm so glad that you now know about her, too. It just seems right, somehow. xo



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